PITTSBURGH -- On Monday, the Pirates couldn't climb out of an early five-run hole. On Tuesday, they weren't able to counter four late runs.In both games, there has been a consistent theme. The Pirates have put runners on base and few have crossed home plate. The Bucs went 0-for-10 with
PITTSBURGH -- On Monday, the Pirates couldn't climb out of an early five-run hole. On Tuesday, they weren't able to counter four late runs.
In both games, there has been a consistent theme. The Pirates have put runners on base and few have crossed home plate. The Bucs went 0-for-10 with men in scoring position and stranded 11 runners in a 6-2 loss to the Reds on Tuesday night at PNC Park.
The Bucs are 0-for-19 with runners in scoring position against the Reds the last two games, both losses. They have stranded 19 men on base, and none of their 10 hits have gone for extra bases. They scored two runs Tuesday without anyone recording an RBI. One run was the product of several Reds misplays up the middle, and the other came on a delayed double steal.
Manager Clint Hurdle said he has not noticed oversized swings or bad hacks in those situations. The Pirates simply aren't getting the job done.
"We haven't been able to produce. Guys' intents are to go up and move the chains," Hurdle said. "They're not doing anything more than that. I haven't seen guys trying to lift and separate. I haven't seen guys trying to be a guy. I see guys going up and trying to put quality at-bats. We haven't been able to put the quality at-bats back to back.
"Oh for 19 pretty much speaks for itself. We're getting out there. We're not getting in. We're not touching the plate."
It is too early to draw any substantial conclusions, but through seven games, the Bucs have scored 23 runs while batting .228/.307/.290 with three home runs, tied for last in the Majors.
They got creative to score their first run Tuesday. They have been looking for opportunities to call a double steal. They found one in the third inning, and Starling Marte and Gregory Polanco executed it perfectly.
Marte singled and took second base on a wild pitch. Josh Bell grounded out, advancing Marte to third base. Andrew McCutchen struck out looking at a nasty slider from Reds right-hander Rookie Davis, then Polanco walked to put runners on the corners.
With David Freese batting, Polanco took off for second, drawing a throw from catcher Tucker Barnhart. Marte dashed toward the plate and slid home safely, putting the Pirates on the board.
"It worked pretty good," Polanco said.
The Pirates' missed opportunities Monday were concentrated within the first three innings, when they left the bases loaded twice. They spread them out Tuesday: two runners left on in the first, third, sixth and eighth innings. They stranded one in the second, fifth and ninth innings.
"It's not going our way right now with runners on base and in scoring position," Polanco said. "It's not going my way right now, but I know I'm going to get the job done. I trust myself. I trust the process. We're going to get it, for sure."
Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast.